Sez Dave (now back in Metsland), “As the 1969 Mets undid the betrayal of NY fans by the Dodgers, the Saints give hope to a city that was betrayed in so many ways.” Exactly. And let’s not forget the betrayal of NY fans by the Giants too. Losing both was a double-whammy for me as a kid. For live major league baseball, Dodgers/Giants fans had to go to a Yankees game — and root against them. Did that a few times. It was way cool. And affordable back then too.
I believed the Saints would win. The whole run-up felt like the ’69 Mets AND the ’69 Jets in Superbowl III. Both were supposed to lose to overpowering Baltimore teams. In the case of the Jets it was the same Colts that also lost yesterday to the Saints.
The sports prophets all said that the Colts were too good. Peyton Manning was the greatest quarterback ever, yada yada. Nobody seemed to notice that the Saints had a pretty good season too. Also its own Hall of Fame quarterback. And, while everybody had some sympathy for the city of New Orleans, there was also this half-tragic, “Well, it’s too bad that the Colts will win this thing.” It was like the Colts could phone it in.
Truth is, it could have gone either way. If a Colts player was found with the ball at the bottom of that scrum after the Saints’ onside kick, the tide might have turned the Colts’ way right there. Same with that pass interception on Manning. But games have a psychological side too. The Saints had the edge there. They believed. And they performed. They were the better team and the more deserving city. And I wish I’d been in New Orleans last night.
But then, I’d been there, in that vindicated, affirming place. Twice, in ’69.
I was never a Dodgers fan myself, but my parents were and my grandparents. They felt about the Dodgers the way we feel about the Mets — and it’s all feeling, nothing intellectual about it.
The Giants, it seems, were like a third or fourth-born kid, no one really cared about them. They left town *with* the Dodgers, not the other way around. Even after living in the Bay Area for most of the last 30 years, I still don’t have a feel for the Giants. I do however have a feel for the Yankees (despise them deeply) and the Saints (hapless, destined to lose, humorous, like a dusty version of the city they come from).
The win comes at exactly the right time, and I don’t mean right in the sense that the city needed a victory because New Orleans *never* won anything until it lost everything. I had this sense both before and after living in N.O. that it wasn’t part of the United States. I later came to believe that this was a time-warp sort of thing. The rest of the U.S. knew that New Orleans was destined to lose horribly. And New Orleans, despite its protestations to the contrary, knew it too.
Now that’s behind the city and the country, and the best way we have of manifesting that is in one of our main spiritual events that’s 100 percent top to bottom American — SuperBowl (the World Series and Thanksgiving are others). This is when New Orleans joins the United States. Brees said he hoped that was true in his speech.
THe Mets win in 69 was the fecund harvest after years of shit. For the Saints, it was many more years of shit, but the fruit is every bit as sweet.
Love is what it’s about. Nothing more or less. This is American spirtuality. In New Orleans Brees with the kid with the headphones trying to catch the glitter is going to be an image for something as powerful as a church. And when that kid grows up.
And don’t forget the Manning family plays a role in this too. Will Archie be in the parade down Canal St? I sure hope so. 🙂
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